Write an essay on distinction between creativity and innovation.
Though there lacks a clear distinction between creativity and innovation, several researchers have tried to identify some differences. Creativity is defined as the ability to develop work that is both original and useful. Creativity occurs as a result of interaction between the socio-cultural context and the human thoughts. Creativity has been regarded as the response to the continuous resourcefulness and innovation that has been made necessary by the need for economic survival. Innovation on the other hand is defined as the process of implementing the original and appropriate ideas. Business innovation involves harnessing of the creative ability of processes and people within an organization in response to the market and customer demands (MacAdam et al, 2004).
Ramstad (2009) has stated that the leaders in any organization are responsible to assemble teams and lead them to the optimal performance outcomes. Besides that, creativity is defined as the potentiality to develop works that are useful as well as original. However, it can be stated that several research works have revealed the fact that there exist a wide gap between the aspirations of the executives to innovate and their potentiality to execute. Therefore, it can be stated that the organizational structures as well as the processes are never the solutions. This research work has tried to shed light on importance of leadership that contributes in innovative and creativity in the selected organization, i.e. Oman Insurance Company.
Creativity and innovation plays an important role in the organization which includes: improved ability to respond to the ever customer needs, it leads to creation of competitive advantage in an organization through technological innovations, possibility of costs savings in an organization and improvement of processes and quality of products or services. Perhaps one of the greatest importance of creativity and innovation in an organization is the ability they offer to an organization to manage to survive in the dynamic markets and the uncertain external environment. The competitive environments will demand for to strengthen or develop a creative and innovation process through stimulating a change in the organization culture.
Innovation will also increase employee motivation in an organization through their empowerment and the freedom they are granted to engage in creative activities. Innovation increases productivity in an organization by encouraging employees to think outside the box in developing cost effective solutions and viable business projects (Ramstad, 2009). This report aims at analyzing three important elements in an organization to determine whether they promote or hinder creativity in an organization. The elements include: organization climate, leadership and the HRM function. Interactionist theory by Woodman and componential theory by Amabile will be used in analyzing the above components.
An individual’s social environment may have significant effect on the levels of their intrinsic motivation which will in turn have an influence on their creativity. Organization climate relates to the recurring patterns of behavior portrayed in the day to day organization environment as understood, interpreted and experienced by members of that organization. These perceptions have an influence on their behaviors, feelings and attitudes towards creativity. Most organizations fail to foster conditions that encourage individuals to ignite change in a bid to maintain their status quo. The employee cognitive styles are heavily influenced by their creative performance as determined the research reports, supervisor ratings and invention disclosure forms (Shalley et al, 2015).
From the company profile, it can be stated that this company is one of the leading insurance companies in the Middle East, headquarter in Dubai, UAE. The vision of the company is to develop superior insurance propositions that the customers would recommend to the friends and family and the shareholders seek for the long-term returns. From the recent news and updates, it can be stated that the leadership in the company is strong enough and this exceptional leadership contributes in innovative and creative ideas in the organization. It can be stated that the company has operated across most Emirates in the United Arab Emirates as well as in Oman and has been planning to expand the business as well in different parts (Tameen.ae 2016).
From a social interactionist approach, the problem solving styles in an organization and the work group relationships that exist in that organization may directly or indirectly have an influence on the perception of an individual on the climate for creativity and innovation. Based on this, it means that an employee’s creative behavior can be regarded as the product of an interaction system that exists among the employee, their work group, social influences, climate for innovation and their leaders. This means that each of those component of the system can either enhance or hinder creativity in an organization (Woodman et al, 1993). Isaksen and Laurer (2002) argue that work groups can be a barrier to creativity by creation of fears that hinder creativity such as social embarrassment and ridicule among the employees as they try to raise their opinions. The systems that hinder creativity include rigid organization structures, inflexible procedures and policies and organization cultures that believe in playing by the rules. Employees may also lack the desire to share knowledge in an organization which hinders knowledge transfer that is essential in a creativity process.
The dispositional characteristics and behaviors of organization leaders may have a huge influence on the innovation process. Amabile’s (1988) componential model suggests that an organization is motivated to innovate if their leadership places high value on innovation and supports employees’ orientation to risk taking rather than advocating for a status quo. They leadership has to take a proactive approach to positive change introduced by creativity and provide necessary resources required by the employees to support their creativity and innovation process. Such resources include: financial resources, technological resources, training, and sufficient time to research and improve on their ideas. Amabile (1998) is of the idea that managers can kill employee’s creativity by setting tight deadlines for projects which results to them not having enough time to explore which in the end hampers their creativity process. They also refuse to allocate enough resources especially the financial and technological resources required in a creativity process. Some managers may also fail to acknowledge innovative efforts and will only be concerned with the outcomes. She further suggests that elements in management such as political problems, destructive critique, surplus of formal procedures and structures, strict controls and competition within an organization undermine creativity among the employees.
It can be stated that business success in the 21st century exists in the potentiality to lead creativity and innovate. Unlocking creative potential is the major part to the economic growth and still very few CEOs opined that their corporation is good at creativity. Therefore, it can be stated that Oman Insurance Company is one of the leading corporations that focuses on appropriate leadership that has assisted the company to expand successfully and achieve noticeable economic growth. The leaders motivate the employees and arrange some effective training programs for them, so that they reach the set target easily. Apart from that, it can be stated that leaders morally motivate the employees largely and this motivates the employees to trust themselves enough to trust others (Kim and Yoon 2015).
At Google, innovativeness is termed as a quality of its leaders. The leaders there minimize the obstacles to innovation, serve as facilitators to the innovation process, they maintain communication with their employees, play the role of cultural ambassadors and connectors and empower and trust their employees. The leaders acts as role models and set the vision of the organization and encourage their employees to work towards it. Google believes that any leader at Google should be born with a set of values that are in line with the organizations corporate values. The leaders therefore are at the fore-front of encouraging creativity and innovation which is among the values of the company (Steiber & Alange, 2013).
Human resource management
HRM can either hinder or promote creativity and innovation in an organization through the staffing practices, motivation techniques and organizing practices. In their research Jiang et al (2012) found out that job design which is a product of HRM can either hinder or promote creativity. Job designs that increased employee autonomy and focused on empowerment had a positive influence on the motivation for creativity. Further job rotation and flexible working hours were found to increase innovations in the organization especially technological innovations. On the issue of staffing practices, HRM will be responsible for attracting, recruiting, developing and retaining that are creative and innovative. Failure to achieve this means that the department is creating hindrances to the creativity and innovativeness in that organization. They must adopt human resource planning to be able to identify gaps that exists in the organization relating to competences and skills in a given area in order to be able to attract and recruit employees that can successfully fill those gaps. A human resource department that does not ensure diversity in attracting and recruiting their staff risks being a barrier to creativity in an organization because they miss out on knowledge sharing brought by employees from different backgrounds (Jimenez-Jimenez & Sanz-Valle, 2008).
According to Li et al (2006), Oman Insurance Company has implemented a unique and broad CII training program for its employees. This program includes in-house learning sessions with CII experts, sharing of course related materials via online and mock exams. The primary goals of these courses are to distribute two types of certificates to the qualified candidates. Those two types of certificates are Award in General Insurance and Certificate in Insurance. The above-mentioned general insurance course is for those employees who are willing to start their careers in insurance sector. This course will help those employees to establish a general understanding of insurance principles, procedures, rules and regulations. According to Steiber and Alange, (2013), the Senior Manager of Learning and Development of Oman Insurance Company said that this training program received enormous support from the employees as more than 150 registrations were submitted and over 100 employees completed this course. Therefore, it is clear that the organization is strengthening its insurance expertise by not only improving and enhancing its technical systems but also by supporting its employees to complete the insurance certificate course via Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). There is no doubt that it is an innovative and creative step taken by the organization to improve the performances of its employees and the performance of the organization.
The interactionist model establishes that organization environment if not properly managed can be the greatest barrier to creativity. Organization environment can be a barrier through the existence of work groups in an organization that do not value knowledge transfer and ridicule creative efforts from a creative employee which results to them developing fears to innovate. Organization environment may also be a barrier through bureaucratic organization structures that are rigid and not open to new ideas that may change the status quo of the organization. Such structures introduce inflexible policies and procedures and organization cultures that hinder creativity. Componential model on the other hand suggests that an organization is motivated to innovate if their leadership places high value on innovation and supports employees’ orientation to risk taking rather than advocating for a status quo. They are supposed to be role models to creativity and develop visions that are geared by innovation as evidenced in the case study of Google. However, from the study it is clear that the leaders of the organization are supporting the creativity and innovation in their Oman Insurance Company. Supporting innovation is the primary job of the leaders and the leaders of the mentioned organization are doing this thing accurately. On the other hand, Oman Insurance Company has also implemented innovative and creative ideas in their human resource department by implementing certification procedures from CII.
Following the componential approach by Amabile, organizations can foster creativity through offering encouragement to their employees, formation of work support groups, offering the employees freedom in their jobs, providing sufficient resources to their employees, challenging and motivating the employees to be creative and offering supervisory encouragement to their employees. The work groups facilitate utilization of problem solving techniques that foster creativity in an organization. Such techniques include brainstorming and creative problem solving (CPS). Brainstorming encourages creativity by allowing the exploration of rich ideas that exist among individuals. It also discourages critiquing of ideas which helps eliminate fear as a barrier to individual creativity. CPS on the other hand advocates for generation of unusual and diverse ideas in the initial stages of challenge and solutions identification. It encourages breaking down of a problem to understand it and generation of creative ideas to solve the problem (Mumford, 2012).
Martins and Martins (2002) developed a model that would enhance creativity in an organization. With the help of Amabile’s approach, the Oman Insurance company can improve their training involvements of employees by which their creativity can be fostered. For motivation, the company should offer them support groups. The work support groups can help employees to foster problem solving techniques through which employee’s creativity in the organization. The Oman insurance company is involving a well-planned training for their employees; however, problem solving techniques includes CPS, as discussed previously, if involved in the training program, the employees would be more efficient to solve problems by their own.
Another recommendation for the company is to involve reward system in the work settings. The reward system is the most efficient system which helps to motivate employees and thereby fostering their creativity and innovative skills. Involvement of a reward system for the employee performed best in a particular session; therefore, the employee would attempt to perform better in the next session.
Other recommendation for the company is to involve the feedback analysis, the feedback would be collected from the team leader and colleagues and based on which the performance of the employees would be evaluated. Based on the feedback collected, the employee would attend the specific person-centered training schedules.
Amabile, TM 1998, 'How To Kill Creativity. Harvard Business Review, 76, 5, pp. 76-87, Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 21 April 2016.
Amabile, Teresa. 1993. A Model of Creativity and Innovation in Organizations. In Research in Organizational Behavior. B. M. Staw and L.L. Cummings (eds.). Vol 10: Pp. 123-167
Isaksen, S.G. & Lauer, K.J. (2002). The Climate for Creativity and Change in Teams.
Creativity and Innovation Management, 11(1); 74-86.
Jiménez-Jiménez, D. & Sanz-Valle, R. (2008). Could HRM support organizational innovation?. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 19:7. 1208-1221
Jiang, J., Wang, S. & Zhao, S. (2012). Does HRM facilitate employee creativity and organizational innovation? A study of Chinese firms. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 23:9, 4025-4047
Kim, S, & Yoon, G 2015, 'An Innovation-Driven Culture in Local Government: Do Senior Manager’s Transformational Leadership and the Climate for Creativity Matter?', Public Personnel Management, 44, 2, pp. 147-168, Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 21 April 2016
Li, Y., Zhao, Y. & Liu, Y. (2006). The relationship between HRM, technology innovation and performance in China. International Journal of Manpower, 27:7, 679-697
MacAdam, R., Reid, R.S. & Gibson, D.A. (2004). Innovation and Organisational Size inIrish SMEs: An Empirical Study. International Journal of Innovation Management, 8(2); p 147-165.
Martins, E., & Martins, N. (2002). An organisational culture model to promote creativity and innovation. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology SA J Ind Psychol,28(4). doi:10.4102/sajip.v28i4.71 Mumford, M. D. (2012). Handbook of organizational creativity. London: Elsevier/Academic Press. Ramstad, E 2009, 'Expanding innovation system and policy - an organisational perspective', Policy Studies, 30, 5, pp. 533-553, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 20 April 2016
Shalley, C. E., Hitt, M. A., & Zhou, J. (2015). The Oxford handbook of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press
Steiber, A. and Alange, S. (2013), ‘‘A corporate system for continuous innovation: the case of Google Inc’’, Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 243-264.
Woodman, R, Sawyer, J, & Griffin, R 1993, 'TOWARD A THEORY OF ORGANIZATIONAL CREATIVITY', Academy Of Management Review, 18, 2, pp. 293-321, Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 20 April 2016.